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Selle San Marco Ground Dynamic saddle review

Selle San Marco Ground Dynamic saddle is an update to the Italian brand's popular GND off-road saddle, but have the changes in shape improved comfort and performance?

Selle San Marco Ground saddle on a tree stump showing the Selle San Marco logo on the rear wing
(Image: © Sean Fishpool)

Our Verdict

If the Selle San Marco Ground saddle fits you, it could be a relaxed option with a nice aptitude for climbing - but check that centre cutout before you commit

For

  • - Relaxed scooped fit
  • - Useful raised rear for climbing
  • - Decent vibration damping
  • - Reasonable weight

Against

  • - Harsh center cutout (for this tester)
  • - Overly grippy cover (for this tester)

Selle San Marco is positioned as the more relaxed, wallet-friendly sister brand to race-focused Selle Italia. The Ground saddle is an update to its well-received GND off-road perch, now wider and shorter. It retains a distinctive rear lip to help give it an edge against the best mountain bike saddles when climbing, but the very soft cushioning may be too soft for some riders. 

Design and aesthetics 

Selle San Marco’s Ground saddle looks relatively chunky and recreational, with deep cushioning and a fairly wide 140mm fit, even in ‘narrow’. It has a distinctive upward flare to the back of the saddle, and a wide cutout - 50mm wide at the rearmost cushioned end, going to around 35mm wide at the start of the fully-cutout area. (This compares with 30mm wide at the widest point on the Selle Italia X-LR). 

The design is simple - plain even - with a matt black skin and some discreet logos and decoration picked out in contrasting glossy black. The rear flare and flat width-ways profile shout ‘comfort’.

Selle San Marco Ground saddle on a tree stump showing the gloss black on matt black logos and details

Graphics are subtle using a black on black design (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

Specifications

The Ground Dynamic sits on manganese rails, for a little weight saving over steel, and its glass-fiber reinforced undershell is designed to be durable and supportive. The foam cushioning inside has a low density, meaning that it’s pretty soft and compresses easily. Selle San Marco says the softness and variable thickness of the foam follows the movement of the pelvis when pedaling.

The Dynamic saddle tested here sits in the middle of the Ground range, the Sport models sits below with steel rails, a claimed 350g and $53.99 / £45 price, and the Carbon-railed Carbon FX model above, at a claimed 215g and costs $148 / £145.

Selle San Marco Ground saddle lying upside down to show the base and rails

Selle San Marco Ground Dynamic finds a balance of lightweight and cost by using manganese rails (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

Performance 

Two main things stand out about the Ground: the soft cushioning and the upward curve at the back - there’s also a noticeably grippy cover, which you may love or hate.

The upward curve at the back, the soft cushioning and perhaps the extra-wide 50mm cutaway section in the middle, all combine to give the agreeable sensation of sitting slightly in the saddle rather than on it. Not enough to distract you with a wallowy feeling, rather a comfortable security.

The upward curve at the back gives noticeable support on steeper seated climbs. It’s certainly no bad thing, and it’s a pleasant thing, but I still can’t decide whether it’s an important thing; it’s not something I’d thought of as a problem before. One minor trade-off is that you can’t slip off the back of the saddle quite so smoothly on descents.

Selle San Marco Ground saddle pictured from the side to show the significant ramped section at the rear of the saddle

The pronounced raised section at the rear of the saddle provides more support when climbing (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

A bigger issue for me was feeling the edge of the plastic base of the saddle through the central cutout when leaning forwards. That seemed due to a combination of the soft cushioning bottoming out, a relatively pronounced plastic lip around the cutout, and maybe the relatively wide cutout for my size. It’s possible the saddle was just too wide for me - Selle San Marco’s narrow is actually 140mm, vs 131mm for its sister brand Selle Italia. I dealt with it by tilting the nose of the saddle down by a couple of degrees, but that wasn’t a long-term solution, as it made things too sloped, especially at the back.

I’m not sure about the short length either. On a time-trial bike, a super snubbed-nose lets riders get into a deeper aero tuck without pressure, but that’s obviously not the point here. I needed to position the saddle all the way back to avoid feeling like I was sitting on the sloped section at the back of the saddle, which meant I noticed the lack of saddle to rest against my legs when out of the saddle on descents. Definitely not a deal-breaker though, and something you get used to quickly enough.

Selle San Marco Ground Dynamic saddleon a tree stump showing the full length of the center cut out from the side

Selle San Marco Ground saddle has a wide shape and cut out which may not suit narrower riders (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

Verdict

The Ground Dynamic ultimately didn’t suit me, but everyone is different and, if the center cutout fits you, you might easily find it a relaxed, fit-and-forget option. Certainly one of our female testers had fewer problems with it on her cyclocross bike, even over multi-hour rides (she noticed the edges of the cutout, but not as a significant discomfort). 

I wanted to like the Ground Dynamic more - I certainly enjoyed the feeling of sitting ‘in’ the saddle, and appreciated the extra little push of support from the scooped lip at the back when climbing got steep. 

Tech Specs: Selle San Marco Ground Dynamic saddle

  • Price: $89.99 / £75.00
  • Weight: 271g (narrow, as tested)
  • Colors: Black
  • Sizes: 255mm x 140mm (narrow, as tested), 255mm x 155m (wide) 
  • Key materials: Manganese rails, ‘Silkfeel Plus’ synthetic cover, glass fibre reinforced shell, Pullfoam cushioning
Sean Fishpool

Sean has old school cycle touring in his blood, with a coast to coast USA ride and a number of month-long European tours in his very relaxed palmares. Also an enthusiastic midpack club cyclocross racer and XC racer, he loves his role as a junior cycle coach on the Kent/Sussex borders, and likes to squeeze in a one-day unsupported 100-miler on the South Downs Way at least once a year. Triathlon and adventure racing fit into his meandering cycling past, as does clattering around the Peak District on a rigid Stumpjumper back in the day.


Height: 173cm

Weight: 65kg

Rides: Canyon Inflite CF SLX; Specialized Chisel Comp; Canyon Aeroad; Roberts custom road bike